A passport is an internationally recognized travel document that verifies the identity and nationality of the bearer. A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave most foreign countries. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue or verify United States passports.
How do I obtain a Passport?
Passports are obtained through the Passport Services Division of the Department of State. Through your local passport acceptance agent, usually at the Post Office, you can apply for a new passport, renew your old one, replace a lost, stolen, or damaged passport, or add new pages to your existing book. If you are leaving on a trip, include your departure date on your application. Ordinarily, you will receive your passport within 6 weeks.
You’ll need to apply in person if you are applying for a U.S. passport for the first time; if your expired U.S. passport is not in your possession; if your previous U.S. passport has expired and was issued more than 15 years ago; or if your previous U.S. passport was issued when you are under 16 your currently valid U.S. passport has been lost of stolen.
You can renew by mail if: Your most recent passport is available to submit and it is not damaged; you received the passport within the past 15 years; you were over age 16 when it was issued; you still have the same name, or can legally document your name change. For more information on forms and fees, go to the State Department's webpage on How to apply for passport renewal.
- Residents abroad should renew their passports at nearest U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate.
- Passports renewed by mail in the U.S. can only be forwarded to U.S. addresses.
- If you mutilate or alter your U.S. passport, you may invalidate it and risk possible prosecution under the law (Section 1543 of Title 22 of the U.S. Code).
- If your passport has been mutilated, altered or damaged , you cannot apply by mail. You must apply in person.
You’re leaving for vacation next month and realize that your passport has expired. For a $60.00 fee--plus the cost of 2-way overnight mail--you can "expedite" this process and receive your passport in about two weeks. Clearly mark Expedited on the envelope. Please note: Passport applications sent together or at the same time do not necessarily remain together. Passports will be mailed separately.
Worse, your boss calls you in and tells you to pack your bags for a trip tomorrow. The New York Passport Agency serves customers who are traveling within 2 weeks (14 days), or who need foreign visas for travel. An appointment is required. Please call the automated appointment number to make an appointment: (212) 206-3500. THERE IS NO CHARGE FOR AN APPOINTMENT AT A PASSPORT AGENCY.
You will be asked to go to the New York Passport Agency at 376 Hudson Street at your appointment time. Note: Even though you have an appointment, you should expect a long wait, first to submit your application and then to pick up your passport. Please budget your time accordingly.
The New York Passport Agency is open 7:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., local time, M-F, excluding Federal holidays. You will not be able to obtain a passport at any other time, unless it is a life or death emergency. Missing your sister’s wedding, your vacation or a business trip (no matter how important) are not considered life or death emergencies.
If you have a travel emergency, please call the National Passport Information Center to speak to a Customer Service Representative. Do not e-mail. Customer Service Representatives and Operators for TDD/TTY are available Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Eastern Time, excluding federal holidays.
- Telephone Number: 1-877-4USA-PPT (1-877-487-2778)
- TDD/TTY: 1-888-874-7793
Telephone number for customers with telecommunication devices for the hearing impaired
For general questions:
* You can get information on passports from a Customer Service operator at the NPIC numbers listed above. Additionally, automated information is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you would like to email the National Passport Information Center for a general question regarding passports or if you have already applied for a U.S. passport and would like to know the status of your application by email, click here.
For answers to frequently asked questions, go to International Visas and Travel Tips on the State Department's website.
You've got your passport and you're ready to go on your trip, right? Not quite. You still have to check with the country or countries you'll be visiting to determine whether or not you'll need a visa (click here). A visa is permission from a country to cross their borders and comes in the form of a stamp in your U.S. Passport. You usually have to mail your passport to the Embassy or Consulate of the country you'll be visiting, so allow plenty of time to accomplish this. Also, check the State Department website fortravel warnings and consular information sheets that provide very helpful information about the country you plan on visiting. The State Department services website also contains very comprehensive information on all the services it provides both stateside and abroad. This includes crisis assistance for U.S. citizens living or traveling abroad, and various travel publications available on-line.
American Embassies and Consulates General: Many U.S. Diplomatic Missions abroad have information on-line. For those that don't, check the State Department's Key Officers of Foreign Service Posts for addresses, and phone and fax numbers for U.S. Embassies and Consulates throughout the world.